Oh, Arnold. You always know just what to do to get me smiling again. Only a mere couple months ago, I stated in my review of The Running Man that they didn’t make movies like that anymore, namely the preposterous action flick. All the movies he made in the 80s and 90s were so larger than life and so out their own minds that the believability was a little on the low side. But I preferred that to today’s action flick, the kind that takes itself too seriously and only stops to deliver some trite innuendo or a one-liner that has no place in the serious dramatic situations they’re alleging to be in. I don’t like today’s action, and it’s not a matter of nostalgia to posit that action today has lost the edge of wonder and imagination that the action flicks of yesteryear helped to establish.
Luckily, before Arnold got out of the game of acting and into the game of being a Republican waste-monger, he left us this little nugget at the doorstep of the new millennium, entitled simply The 6th Day. It’s a movie about the distant future, 2015, in which a man is unknowingly cloned and replaced in his day-to-day life, and seeks to regain his life back as well as to seek vengeance against those who wronged him. And considering what year it is right now, I have no doubt in my mind that this was not only a harbinger of the future but a documentary sent from the year 2015 itself! What with the XFL being so popular right now, America at the forefront of cloning research, and with lasers being issued to almost every rank and file officer nowadays, anyone can see how, in a way, Arnold predicted the future here!
In all seriousness, it’s a clunky sci-fi thriller about the dangers of corporate science and illegal cloning that was set just a little too soon into the future to be anywhere remotely viable. Its efforts to tie in the then-present with the future don’t come off as very serious, though, which allows for some hearty laughs to be had at all the harsh anachronisms. I mean, come on; the XFL are still playing games in 2015? Who thought that was going ANYWHERE? And lasers by 2015? That’s a little much! And cloning is used in that old 1980s idea that a clone will look and act exactly like you, and that there will be absolutely zero differences between the original person and said clone.
But that means some great scenes for Arnold, who plays the cloned man in question, Adam Gibson. He not only gets to play his usual All-American hero (imported from Austria), but he gets to act with his favorite leading man; himself! There are so many split-screens of him acting next to himself that it borders on parody, but it somehow still plays like your everyday action movie, now with DOUBLE the Arnold! It’s one of the many perks Arnold got for appearing in this film, which included a $25 million check and the chance to add a scene where he smokes some cigars on screen, a favorite pastime of his! And not only that, but he gets to dominate the screen without expending too much effort! Michael Rappaport is in here to add some comic relief, Robert Duvall is there a bit to add a modicum of gravitas, and there are some sexy ladies like Sarah Wynter to keep the movie from becoming a sausage-fest, but it is almost 100% Arnold here, and it’s really not as bad as it sounds.
There’s not really a lot to add here. The special effects are good for 2000, but not great. Keep an eye out for the freaky genetically altered dolls throughout the film; they’re pretty impressive, as well as pretty freaky. Director Roger Spottiswoode directs this affair like a commercial, and that’s actually a good thing for a slick sci-fi thriller. And there is a lot to laugh at in this pseudo-serious message movie about man’s imminent fears of cloning. It’s fun, it’s fast, and it’s a product of a bygone age, the last hurrah for big, dumb, spectacular, imaginative action flicks. I enjoyed it as an experience, and although it’s nowhere near the heyday of Arnold’s The Running Man glory, it’s good enough for me to for me to award The 6th Day 5 1/2 XFL leagues out of 10 (and those’ll be worth a lot more in THE FUTURE!)
Tomorrow check in for my Night Out segment, where I’ll watch the new animated feature 9! Until then!